Tunisian protestor punishment if caught? How far is too far?

A large amount of uproar and controversy has surrounded the Tunisian women who posted a picture of herself on Facebook to support women’s rights. The female posted a picture of herself topless with the caption underneath in Arabic stating “My body belongs to me, and it’s not the source of the honor of anyone – not my fathers, husbands, or brothers”. Amina Tyler, the female named as the topless protester, stated in an interview that she was protesting for women’s rights and celebrating the news that Femen office was opening in Tunisia. Femen is an international women’s rights organization that protest women’s right s and are known for their protests by stripping in public. (http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/naked-tunisia-protest-stoning-478901) The female additionally stated that “if I posted a picture with a t-shirt that stated the same slogan, I would not have received the same impact as this did”. (http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/03/18/topless-feminist-protest-comes-to-tunisia/)

While this female believed that this was the appropriate measure to get the reaction that she wanted in support of women rights, many others don’t feel the same way about the issue. According to reports on albawaba.com, Mr. Adel Alami, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Tunisia, feel that this was inappropriate and she must face consequences for her action. Now here is where the real issue begins to take place and that is how far is too far in terms of the way that the female should be punished. The Islamic chief states that originally the female was to receive 100 whip-lashes for her actions. However, it was later determined by the Islamic chief that this punishment would not be severe enough for her actions and she should instead be punished by being stoned to death. This stand was taken as a result that the Islamic chief believe that the public would see this punishment as both too lenient and would also see this action as the government allow this female to get off easy. (http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/naked-tunisia-protest-stoning-478901) What also may come as a surprise of many people reading the punishment is the person/people that also agree with this action brought forth by the Islamic chief. In a report from Tunisia-live.net, the female’s family has disowned her for her actions and many of them agree she must be punished. In a video on YouTube, the Aunt directly addresses the issue by denouncing the actions of her niece and stating “I hope she pays for her actions, she does not respect her country or Tunisia women”. (http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/03/18/topless-feminist-protest-comes-to-tunisia/) Later that same day, it was reported that the females Facebook account was hacked by a group of hackers in opposition to the act. Comments were left on her Facebook wall stating “Thanks to God we have hacked this immoral page and the best is to come… the page has been hacked and if God willing, this dirt will disappear of Tunisia” (http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2996/topless_tunisia_protest_group_hacked)

While many other individuals of the opposition find this punishment to be extremely severe and all agree that this action was inappropriate, many of the female’s supporters say that they support her views on women’s rights and defend her bravery. Many of her supporters have organized a international day of action for women’s rights and defend Amina on April 4th, 2013. Other who also support the women’s right movement and Amina’s actions have replicated the images of themselves topless with the same comment in Arabic on their Facebook pages.

Through the use of social media and Facebook, many individuals globally including the Arab world can not only spread their message but also bring national attention to a key issue with one click of the mouse or with one post or picture on Facebook. As a result of this instant form of new media, one single post of comment can hit extremely large numbers of people in which some support your ideas and others oppose them. In some case, this allows individuals to instantly become a prominent figure in a movement around the world or in their region, but also instantly creates incite and provokes uprising in others who oppose the movement. As stated by Amina in one of the news reports, through the media and Facebook, she was able to see the Femen movement, was able to connect and learn about it, was able to become part of the movement, and have the movement become part of Tunisia. (http://www.tunisia-live.net/2013/03/18/topless-feminist-protest-comes-to-tunisia/)


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